G.J. Gardner. Homes.
G.J. Gardner. Homes. Cordell Richardson

EXCLUSIVE: Builder gloats of success days before going bust

THE director of a collapsed building franchise gloated about the health of his company in the days before going bust, owing tradies thousands of dollars.

Pieter Burghout, managing director of G.J. Gardner Homes North Ipswich, promoted the franchise's supposed success in an email to his suppliers on January 10.

"It's day four back here for most of us in the G.J. Ipswich office, and it's already going gang-busters, LOL (laugh out loud)," he wrote.

"It's clearly going to be a busy year - from putting 30 slabs down last year and 20 the year before - we will be readily on track to do 40 slabs this year."

The email, seen by the QT, he thanked about 25 trades for backing his G.J. franchise.

"Thank you as always for the input, support, and - in many cases - patience as we've continued to grow over that time," Mr Burghout wrote.

Days later the business would be put into liquidation.

The managing director has since remained silent and a request for comment has gone unanswered.

About $750,000 is believed to be owed to trades and suppliers after the collapse of the G.J. Gardner North Ipswich franchise, well above the $200,000 initially predicted.

A sub-contractor is preparing to sell his home and leave the construction industry, with the collapse of G.J. Ipswich the final straw.

The tradie, who has spoken on the condition of anonymity to protect future employment, said nobody was told the business was in trouble.

"We found out on Tuesday when the office was shut and nobody could get a hold of them," the tradie said.

"I don't know whether I'm going to survive.

"I've been in it for 15 years... I've lost more money in the past but this has really hurt me."

The sub-contractor has reached out to family for cash and is considering selling his home to pay bills.

"It's that bad," they said.

"I've got workers I'm trying to keep food on the table."

The sub-contractor said Mr Burghout lied about the business's health, ripping trades off even more.

"Don't tell us you're going alright when you're not," the tradie said.

"A lot of us could have gone somewhere else and avoided being owed probably $10,000 or $20,000 more.

"We would have been out of there by October last year."

The tradie wants more grunt given to the "null and void" Queensland Building and Construction Commission and regular access to a builder's financials.



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